Self-Archiving Service FAQ

Legal and general issues

The following information was verified carefully, but it does not constitute binding legal advice. We do not assume any liability for possible errors.

Unfortunately, the legal situation with regards to republication is not completely clear. Different national laws may apply depending on the country of the publishing house. Furthermore, many publishing houses describe their policies and rules with regards to republication on their respective websites. You can often find these policies under headings such as “Self-Archiving” or “Open Access”. Such policies may also be found on the platform Sherpa Romeo.We would advise you to examine the legal situation carefully and, in case of doubt, to ask permission from the publishing house for a republication.

For works or articles published by a German publishing house, §38 of the German copyright law applies. The republication of articles from journals, anthologies and dictionaries or encyclopedias is basically allowed, but it may depend on individual agreements reached with the publisher. Monographs may not be republished unless there is an agreement to this effect (e.g. in the case of a dissertation which is out of print) with the publishing house.

When a text is published for the first time, you often have a contract with the corresponding publishing house in which the right to use this publication is defined. This right determines the extent to which you may republish this work, provided it complies with the legal restrictions in place.

In order to simplify this process, many publishing houses have adopted policies with specific rules for republication. You can find these policies on their websites under headings such as “Republication”, “Self-Archiving” or “Open Access”. If your publishing house has not made public any policy with regards to republication, you should ask them directly about their policy. Such policies can also be found through the platform Sherpa Romeo.

When you republish a publication through RelBib, it gets stored in a repository managed by the University of Tübingen. The repository for RelBib constitutes a non-commercial subject repository. Depending on the policy of the publishing house involved in the first publication, it is possible to republish an article on one’s own personal website, on a repository belonging to one’s own institution or on a non-commercial subject repository. Commercial services such as Academia or ResearchGate are often excluded.

If you are not allowed to republish your work on a non-commercial subject repository, you may be allowed to republish it in the repository of your own institution. In this case, please consult the person responsible for Open Access publications at your university library. We would appreciate it very much if you could let us know which of your publications were republished in your institutional repository so that we may include a reference to them in RelBib.

If you wrote a publication together with another or several other author(s), you need their consent before you republish it.

We recommend that you preface your publication with a cover page containing the complete bibliographic details of the first publication. Please check if your publisher requires a reference to the original publication or any other mandatory information.

This cover page should at least contain the following information:

  • A note explaining that this article is being republished under the Green Open Access model
  • Title of the article
  • Your name as well as the name(s) of your co-author(s) (if applicable)
  • Title of the journal or of the essay collection
  • Editor(s) of the essay collection
  • Place of publication
  • Publishing house
  • Year of publication
  • Page numbers of the article in the original publication
  • If applicable: permanent link (e.g. DOI, URN, Handle) to the online version or link to the website of the publishing house
  • When a manuscript version is republished, a note explaining that the republished version has the same contents as the manuscript version, but possibly a different layout, which means that there might be differences in the page numbers.

The right to use some images does not automatically apply for a republication. You should therefore verify whether you have the right to use these images again in a republication, and if not, acquire them again.

There may be some exceptions for images from works in the public domain and for pictorial quotations according to German law.

If you do not have the right to use some images, they have to be removed from the publication or blackened / whitened.

Yes. You can refer to your republished article by using its unique and permanent Digital Object Identifier (DOI) in a bibliographical reference. This means that your articles can be fully shared and quoted in research as well as in teaching.

Technical Procedures and Problems

  • A user account in RelBib, which you can open free of charge at this link.
  • Access rights to your author ID, which you can gain through your RelBib-user account (see author ID).
  • Publications which you are allowed to republish.

In order to upload a publication in RelBib, do the following:


  1. You need a user account in RelBib.

    You can register using a valid e-mail address. You can access the registration and login pop-up window by pressing on the “Login” button at the top right corner of the home page. Once you have a user account, you can proceed with the following steps.

  2. Requesting Access Rights

  3. Once you’ve logged into your RelBib-account, you can request access rights to your author ID. First click on the tab labelled “Persons / Corporations“ right above the search field. Search for your name and select the right entry.

  4. Click on the button „Request access rights (This is me!)”.

  5. Your request will be automatically sent to the RelBib-team. We will then verify your identity and inform you within a few days per e-mail whether your request has been approved.

  6. In the next step, you can upload your essays.

    Upload (self-archive)

  7. Once your request has been approved, log into your RelBib-account. You can now select every essay linked to you as an author for republication. When you click on the “Self-archive” button, you can upload your essay as a PDF-file.

  8. Your file then gets uploaded in our repository. It should be available in Open Access to other users on the following day. At the same time, stable links (handle/DOI) to the file are generated, which you can also access on the following day. These links are permanent, and you may use them in your research and teaching activities.

An author ID is a unique and permanent identifier (a number) in the German authority file “Gemeinsame Normdatei” (GND), which is used by RelBib to identify you uniquely and to assign your publications to your profile.

First, you go to your person information page, which you can find through the search field with the tab labelled “Persons / Corporations“ in RelBib or by clicking on the author icon near your name in the bibliographical entry for one of your works. Right above the biographical summary, you will find a button labelled Request access rights (This is me!). You should then log in with your RelBib-account, if you haven’t done so yet. Your request will be automatically sent to the RelBib-team. We will then verify your identity and inform you within a few days per e-mail whether your request has been approved. Please note that you may only request access rights for your own author ID.

If you have any problems, please contact us at

Please verify first whether an author ID already exists for you, for instance by searching for your name with the tab labelled “Persons / Corporations“ in RelBib. If you don’t have an author ID according to the results of this search, please contact us at

There are a few possible reasons for this:

  • You haven’t logged into your user account. Please log in.

  • You haven’t requested access rights to your author ID yet.

  • If none of the cases listed above apply, please contact us at

The article for which you would like to upload your republished version is not linked to your author ID. The person icon which should be near your name as author of this publication is missing. Please contact us with the link to your publication in RelBib at:

If you would like to upload a publication which is not already listed in RelBib, please send us the complete bibliographical information for this publication at:

If your publication is listed in RelBib, but you do not appear as one of its authors, please contact us at Please send us with your e-mail the complete bibliographical information of this publication as well as a link to the corresponding entry in RelBib.

Your publication must be in a PDF file, preferably in the PDF/A format. You can find instructions on how to produce a PDF/A file here. The PDF/A format was developed to store documents in a digital archive over a long period of time. No other format (e.g. .docx, .odt, etc.) is allowed.

A persistent identifier or stable link is assigned to every file in order to make your republished article permanently retrievable. This link will never change, even if the file itself is moved to another storage location. This means that references to your publication using this link in our repository will always remain accurate. For this purpose, RelBib uses Digital Object Identifiers (DOI) and handles (links). Since the DOI first has to be generated, it becomes available only approx. 24 hours after the upload and appears within a few days in RelBib.

Your publication becomes available after it has been uploaded on the repository and can be shared through the handle/link. Our team does not verify the contents of the files nor any legal issues related to the publication. Therefore, please make sure that you upload the correct files.

The Digital Object Identifier (DOI) becomes available only approx. 24 hours after the upload and appears within a few days in RelBib.

Unfortunately, a later modification or deletion of your article is not possible. Therefore, please make sure that your publication is in accordance with all copyright laws as well as exploitation, image and personal rights. Access to documents already published may be blocked on legal grounds.

Please refrain from putting any copy protection or password on your files. We follow the basic principles of Open Access, so your republished article should be available without any further obstacles.

The information on your person information page is automatically obtained from various sources (e.g. GND, ORCID, etc.) and is therefore not always up-to-date.

If you find any erroneous information on your page, please contact us at

If you have any other question or concern, please contact us at: